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Bloodflowers Excerpt 15

February 22, 2014

*Well, things have certainly taken an interesting turn. I’ve been doing a LOT of rewriting, as I expected I would.*

I lie in bed and wait for Dave to say something, but he doesn’t. “David,” I say to the dark, “You made a promise and you couldn’t have broken it more if you had crawled out of the goddamn grave to come knocking. What the hell were you thinking?! What the hell is your problem?!” I wait. No answer comes. “You wanted me to move on. You wanted me to be happy. So now that I might actually like someone, you’re going to try and fuck everything up?!” I seethe. “What the fuck is your fucking PROBLEM?!”

It must be harder for him than he thought it would be, I think to myself, allowing him a few seconds of pity and excuses, even though I wouldn’t let James do it. I feel like my brain is buzzing, or more accurately, like something is buzzing around inside my skull where my brain ought to be; something’s waking up inside me. I assume that it’s Dave, though he still says nothing to me to admit his presence.  There’s just the slight buzzing, and it stops for a moment when I say, “David, if I could take it all back, I would. If I had to go back as far as high school and never speak to you in order for you to be alive today, I would. And if it would bring me to you, I’d slit my wrists to be with you.” Jesus. I mean it, I realize, even though it makes me sound like stupid angst ridden teenage goth kid. If I had a guarantee that we’d be together, that he’d be happy, I’d off myself without a second thought, truthfully. There’s no guarantee beyond belief, though, and I’m starting to think maybe the afterlife isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anyhow, judging on how it’s affected Dave. Dave’s mom might lose it entirely if I killed myself, and so as often as I’ve thought about doing it, I won’t tear more lives apart over a hope and a prayer.

“So if you’re listening, I can’t take it all back, and I can’t undo it, and I can either do what you want or not. You’re either stuck here or you’re not. Should I just invite you to stay? Is that what you’re effing waiting for? Are you like a vampire, waiting for an invitation?” I feel like an idiot, talking out loud in the dark, even though I’m alone except for maybe Dave. “Fine. You’re invited. How do you like that?” The buzzing starts again, very faintly at first until I can’t stand it and actually shake my head as if I could shake out the buzzing. It stops. Nice.

But then I’m surprised to feel myself smile suddenly, and even more surprised when I raise my left hand and run a finger softly over my lips. “Oh, goody!” says Dave with my mouth. “I really appreciate the formal invite! This is going to be so much fun!” Oh SHIT. What have I done?

“Mmmmhmmm…” he hums softly and with deceptive sweetness. “So…” he interrupts himself to ask me simply, “What do you think of Jochen?”

Clearly, things have escalated into a full-blown clusterfuck. “Jochen,” I mutter with disbelief. “Jochen? You’ve got to be kidding me.”

I feel my own shoulders shrug unexpectedly in response. “Jochen. Yeah.”

“And you didn’t think it germane to tell me that I had managed to coincidentally hook up with your fucking high school boyfriend from D.C. before now because why, exactly?”

He doesn’t answer me right away. When he finally does, it is with thought, not words. Having thoughts pushed at me this way leaves me queasy, but not so much that I don’t process them. I wanted to see how it would play out. I wanted to know what Jochen was driving at. Don’t trust him, Bryan.

Excuse me?!?!” I bellow at him incredulously. “I’ve been making out with your old boyfriend and you wanted to see how this would play out?! What in the holy fuck is wrong with you, David?” I think to myself, It’s like he got brain damage in the accident and the powers that be forgot to fix it in the afterlife.

But there is no “myself” anymore, is there? It wouldn’t be far off the mark to say that, really, he replies, again with instantaneously communicated thought. I can’t help it, though. Death sort of negates whatever emotional hang-ups we might tend toward in life. Everything is more like a constant state of dispassionate scientific inquiry around here. I shrug again. It freaks me out. Dave didn’t just reply to me, I realize; I wasn’t even finished thinking to myself when he started replying. He’s making my thoughts his and his mine. Yeah, shit just got all kinds of complicated.

“Whatever it is, it’s fucking annoying. Now tell me, why am I calling Jochen ‘James,’ and why hasn’t he mentioned that we have a partner in common? It’s not like he doesn’t know you and I were married, you know.”

Dave does me the courtesy of speaking aloud this time, and I let him ramble for a bit while I continue to try to process that James is Dave’s ex. “His name is James,” he says with my mouth. On his birth certificate. Only his friends ever called him Jochen. As for why he’d not tell you about him and me, I don’t know, but I can tell you this, Bryan: do not trust him. I have seen now how it will play out, and it isn’t good. Something isn’t, um, all there with James nee Jochen. Or Jochen nee James. Whatever. Why do you think I tried to scare the shit out of him tonight? Just exactly what kind of spectral nutjob do you think I am? I am seriously not liking how this mind meld we’ve started up is going thus far. Can you kindly figure out how the fuck to shut down that part of your brain? I don’t want to know every last thing you’ve kept locked in there. Although, say, do you keep sex memories in there? Can I go through your brain porn, baby?”

It creepy to hear this from my own voice. It’s my voice after all, but with all the nuances of Dave’s personal dialect – the tone and cadence, the syntactic anomalies blended with morphological abominations. Dave was, after all, the one who tried to informally campaign for a major road in Pittsburgh to be referred to more colloquially as “The Bully Al.” I snap myself back to the conversation. “Look,” I tell him before he can actually try to sift through any brain porn I may or may not happen to have stored away, “Can we undo this clusterfuck, babe? Like, back to the part when we weren’t freaking sharing a common body?”

I grimace before I (or, well, Dave) can answer me. This isn’t going to be good. “Erm… uh, that’s going to be a no, hoss. I think I’m sort of now kind of maybe a little stuck here for the foreseeable future maybe, yeah. No.”

“What the hell do you mean, ‘No’?” I demand. We’re stuck like this? Fraaaaaaaak.

“Till Death does part us and some such blarghhhh, yeah. I don’t know! Not my rules, I swear!!”

Fucking great, I think at him. I get a boyfriend on the same day I find myself sharing a body with my dead husband, AND I find out that, ever so conveniently, my new boyfriend is his ex.

Yup. He thinks back and smiles with my lips. This is more fucked up than the entirety of Titus Andronicus. This is going to be epic! Oh my god, B., do you realize what this means? He doesn’t wait for an answer. He doesn’t have to wait. I get to sleep again! I get to feel again! I get to smell and taste and hear. I can’t wait to experience sleep again!! He yawns. I yawn. I love you, babycakes, but I have got to experience sleep, like right fucking now. And like that, he’s asleep. It’s not human. Just boom: Asleep.

I squeeze my eyes shut, thinking, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no…” This should have been a wonderful thing, but it isn’t. There is absolutely nothing wonderful about sharing both a body and a common boyfriend with your dead husband. And what of said boyfriend, who is clearly a liar, or at least hiding his connection to Dave from me, after insisting on honesty. I don’t know what to think or do. I don’t know who to trust. I can’t even trust myself, I don’t think. Somehow, I will myself to sleep, probably somewhere around the zillionth repetition of “no.”

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From → Bloodflowers, fiction

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